UK : The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has urged the government, businesses and learning providers to freshen up their approach to skills in the coming year. In a new report, entitled In Perfect Harmony, the CBI contends that 28 skill reforms in the past three decades have alienated firms, confused learning providers and failed to deliver on skill needs.
The report recommends policymakers, firms and providers work together in developing and delivering a “national, stable and joined-up skills plan” that is central to the government’s Industrial Strategy.
Additionally, the CBI also called for the apprenticeship levy – which came into force last year – to evolve into a flexible skills levy, which would let businesses “fund training for their people, whatever the form of high quality course they do”.
If the government were to reflect the views of businesses, the CBI believes that the current reform programme could meet skill needs.
Neil Carberry, CBI’s managing director for people policy, said skills were vital for the UK to adapt to new technologies, increase its competitiveness and deliver high wages.
“There is an opportunity now to establish a stable framework for skills in England – by the government reviewing the levy and creating a world-class technical system through T-levels,” he said.
He added that if all parties were to work together, confidence in the stability of the country’s skills system could grow, encouraging businesses and skills providers to invest.
“Companies need to get stuck in and engage to help create a more flexible and business-focused skills system that will benefit their people, their business and the local economy.”
Other recommendations made in the report included granting the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education powers to regulate and report on the performance on the skills market; piloting local apprenticeship levy pooling in at least four English regions; and local leaders creating local skill plans.
Last week, a report from the British Chambers of Commerce found that the shortage of skilled workers in the UK was reaching “critical levels”, with growth in the service sector remaining muted.
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